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Student-occupied homes targeted in unusual east London break-ins

London police are reminding the public, and students in particular, to keep doors and windows locked after responding to two similar and unusual break-ins on Monday.

READ MORE: OPP investigating after several firearms stolen from Thames Centre home

In both cases, the occupants were home and the suspect fled to meet with a large group.

At around 12:45 a.m., students found a male in the basement of their home on Thurman Circle. The suspect took off with some property and the students followed him until he met up with around 20 other males. One of the students was assaulted and suffered minor injuries.

A 17-year-old is charged with break and enter and assault.

READ MORE: London police seek help identifying suspect in break and enter, assault

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Shortly after 1 a.m., students at a home on Fleming Drive saw a suspect crawling out of their basement window but when they attempted to confront him he indicated he had a weapon. The male ran from the home towards a number of other males waiting nearby.

“The fact that the suspects in this investigation appear to have been part of a larger group of 20 individuals is unusual, as is the fact that these break-ins occurred to residences which were occupied,” said Det. Sgt. Blair Harvey of the Street Crime Unit.

“It appears in these cases that student homes were specifically targeted so we are asking them to be sure to lock doors and windows to protect themselves from this type of incident.”

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Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online.